Last week we served on a jury in a medical malpractice verdict.  To put it mildly, we were surprised that we made it through the peremptory gauntlet.  The verdict?  It was an enlightening and edifying experience.

The Selection

The fifth time was the charm.  On four prior occasions, we had marched to the

This post comes from the Cozen O’Connor side of the blog.

After two months, the third bellwether trial in the Pinnacle Hip Implant MDL is coming to an end. The jury heard closing arguments yesterday and began deliberating late in the afternoon. They start up again this morning.

Much like the second bellwether trial, this trial was not without controversy. The signs were ominous before it began.  Two weeks before trial, the court issued a sua sponte order consolidating six separate plaintiffs for the trial, close to any defendant’s worst nightmare. The court also ruled that plaintiffs could serve notices that would require company witnesses who were outside the geographic reach of the court to nonetheless testify live via satellite. Defendants could not substitute trial depositions for the satellite testimony, even though trial depositions had already been taken, complete with cross-examination of the witnesses by plaintiffs’ counsel. This order was sufficiently controversial that a Fifth Circuit judge, while concurring with his colleagues’ decision to reject defendants’ writ of mandamus challenging the order, chose to issue a one-sentence concurring opinion saying that the MDL judge got it wrong.Continue Reading Buckle Up: The Jury Is Out in the Pinnacle Hip Implant MDL’s Third Bellwether Trial

We have written several times before about the good and the bad pretrial rulings in Bartlett v. Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., No. 08-358 (D.N.H.). Faithful readers will recall that the plaintiff allegedly developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) after taking generic Sulindac, an NSAID. The court threw out the failure to warn claim because the provider never

Alabama has always had some rather unusual jurisprudence.  In product liability, the Yellowhammer State doesn’t have negligence or strict liability, but rather a hybrid called the Alabama Extended Manufacturers Liability Doctrine (“AEMLD”).  See Casrell v. Altec Industries, Inc., 335 So.2d 128, 132-33 (Ala. 1976).  More recently, the Alabama Supreme Court twice adopted the extreme pro-plaintiff innovator liability theory in Wyeth, Inc. v. Weeks, 2013 WL 135753 (Ala. Jan. 11, 2013), withdrawn and superseded, Wyeth, Inc. v. Weeks, 159 So.3d 649 (Ala. 2014).  On that occasion, the Alabama legislature overruled the court.  See Ala. C. §6-5-530.  More recently than that, the same court authorized plaintiffs to perjure themselves and claim that they would have ignored their doctors’ recommendations in order to claim causation in learned intermediary cases.  Blackburn v. Shire U.S., Inc., ___ So.3d ___, 2022 WL 4588887, at *11-12 (Ala. Sept. 30, 2022).  Most recently, and most notoriously, the Alabama Supreme Court declared frozen embryos to be people – at least for the purposes of tort law.  LePage v. Center for Reproductive Medicine, P.C., ___ So.3d ___, 2024 WL 656591, at *4 (Ala. Feb. 16, 2024).  Who knows? By 2030, Alabama might attempt to count blastocysts as “people” for purposes of the census – although not for tort purposes, since the legislature appears to have stepped in again.

We read another bizarre – if not nearly as notorious – Alabama law decision recently.  Ahmed v. Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Systems, Inc., 2024 WL 693078 (S.D. Ala. Feb. 20, 2024), reconsideration & certification denied, 2024 WL 947447 (S.D. Ala. March 5, 2024).  What’s bizarre about it?  It allowed a plaintiff in a medical device product liability case (hip implant) get to the jury without any medical expert testimony on causation.  Id. at *16 (entitled “Summary Judgment is not Required on All of Plaintiff’s Claims Even Though She Offers No Expert Evidence Regarding Medical Causation”).Continue Reading Another Weird Alabama Decision

Two years ago we posted on whether courts could exclude prospective jurors for cause because they weren’t vaccinated.  Not much precedent was then available. 

Now, with United States v. O’Lear, 2024 WL 79971 (6th Cir. Jan. 8, 2024), we get the first published appellate decision on the topic, affirming the exclusion.  (The Ninth Circuit

Our work on “hard goods” (automobile, appliance, fire) product liability cases is greatly outnumbered by our drug and device cases (and probably also outnumbered these days by website privacy cases).  But the history of product liability has often been driven by such hard goods cases.  Think of Cardozo’s famous opinion in MacPherson v. Buick.

As a defense lawyer, one grows accustomed to clear judicial days on which the state court can foresee forever.  See Thing v. La Chusa, 48 Cal. 3d 644, 668 (1989).  On those clear judicial days, when the court catches a glimpse of the possibility of harm shimmering off in the distance, one can be

Patora v. Vi-Jon, LLC, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153421 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 30, 2023), is a typical express preemption decision resulting in dismissal of a typical consumer protection-based purely economic loss class action against an over the counter (OTC) product.  The plaintiffs, suing on behalf of a putative class, alleged that they purchased an OTC